Fear of avian flu abroad drives down US poultry exports

US - Foreign consumers, anxious about avian flu, are avoiding eating chicken, pushing down poultry exports and the price of chicken for American companies.

So far, poultry sales in the United States remain unscathed by the spread of the virus in other parts of the world.

But American poultry companies, including those in Delaware, are concerned foreign consumers aren’t eating as much chicken. Already the declining consumption abroad is causing a glut in chicken parts and lowering broiler prices.

Poultry exports account for about $61 million, or about 9 percent, of Delaware’s $686 million poultry industry. Delaware’s poultry companies – Perdue Farms, Mountaire Farms, Allen Family Foods and Tyson Foods – export chicken legs mostly to Russia, China and Hong Kong.

With tariffs expected to loosen up in Central America with a free trade agreement, some of these poultry companies also are expected to expand their export market.

Even though consumers will not catch avian flu by eating cooked chicken, fears are growing abroad about catching the virus, experts said. A lethal version of the bird flu, known as H5N1, has infected 175 people and killed 95 around the world. In recent months, avian flu has spread from Asia to Europe to the Middle East and Africa.

Source: DelawareOnline
calendar icon 8 March 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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